One of the main goals of the Weaving the Streets Blog and the People’s History Archive is to document how people use the streets to express themselves. How common people create and advertise grassroots movements through art, peaceful occupation, organizing protests, etc. that aren’t necessarily documented by the mainstream media. Though the question I wanted to answer with this post, is how do people express themselves when they are struggling, hungry, cold and scared?
Be it poverty, disparity, or as my generation eloquently puts it “The Struggle”, hard times can bring something out of a person. We see it every day; it could be a person playing an instrument in the subway, or people dancing in public areas, we see individuals selling their art on the street and this is all for us to empathize with their struggle, and maybe donate funds to alleviate some of the burden. But how many of us truly empathize? How many of us accept and understand these forms of expression as more than just cool things to see?
Spain is routinely referred to as a democratic country, and it does possess many of the attributes typically associated with democracy. At the same time, as I have seen during the past several months of living in Madrid, the country is also home to some profoundly anti-democratic tendencies. For many critics, these tendencies represent not an erosion of a previously democratic reality but rather a confirmation that “La Transición” (Spain’s post-1975 transition from dictatorship to democratic rule) remains fundamentally unfinished. Nowhere is this clearer that in the ongoing attempts by the state to restrict the ability of ordinary citizens to exercise freely their right to protest and to share information about what is happening in their society. In this “Weaving the Streets” post I will share what I observed and learned at a recent protest in support of Raúl Capín, an independent photojournalist who is facing potential jail time after photographing police activity at a major public demonstration in February 2013. The case is intimately connected with a broader series of issues having to do with the criminalization of information and possibility for real democratic transformation in Spain.
My name is Lydia Pendleton. I’m a junior at St. Lawrence University living in Madrid this year and this is my first post for “Weaving the Streets & People’s History Archive” (WSPHA) project. I’ve always had a profound interest for all topics anthropological or Spanish related and I am happy to say I found a topic that interests me as much as I hope it will interest all of you.
I was offered the opportunity to participate in the WSPHA project this summer, by the program director of the St. Lawrence University study abroad program in Spain. I accepted this offer because I love learning about new cultures from the grassroots level, it forces me out of my comfort zone and stimulates growth as a person. I applied to study in Spain in order to perfect my knowledge of the language, but I also wanted to see the effects of the European financial crisis on the Spanish population.
Sometimes when you're out #weavingthestreets you see huge, obvious signs of the people's voices. In other cases you have to look a little harder, like when you're in a neighborhood that is the embodiment of ruling class privilege.
Farewell notes at the Café ComercialI've just arrived in Spain's capital, Madrid, and will be reporting from here for the next ten months or so. Many of my reports will fall within the purview of our "Weaving the Streets" project, part of a larger collaboration between the Weave and the Richard F. Brush Art Gallery. One of the first things that has caught my eye is the recent closure of the city's oldest café: Café Comercial (CC), located in the Glorieta de Bilbao, just a few minutes up the street from where I´m living. The sudden decision to shutter the legendary café has been reverberating throughout the city and beyond. It has also provided an opportunity for madrileños (residents of Madrid) to express themselves through hundreds of small notes attached to the windows of the café.
In this post I will include the information gathered from a survey I sent out to various friends, colleagues, and professors from Spain. Though the number surveyed is minimal in the grand scheme of things, I think that the responses have helped generate insight into how the public views the situation in Spain in regards to xenophobia, specifically after the financial crisis.
Here is an infograph I created on Piktocharthighlighting poverty percentages in 2012. All of my information was taken from sources such as the United States Census Bureauand Wikipedia statistics on population sizes of both countries and states/territories in the U.S.
Aside from visas, be them work, travel, or otherwise, there are various modes of legal entry; however, many illegal immigrants can quickly become considered legal through government programs aimed at creating a larger labor force. In this blog post we will look at the multipl regularization programs Spain has enacted under various governments throughout the past half century.